by Jess Blumensheid

Four years after its expected release, Metal Mind has put out Black Mass Krakow 2004. The DVD highlights Gorgoroth’s performance notorious for impaled sheep heads and naked human crucifixes. However, Gorgoroth live on video is less exciting than I expected. Three quarters of the footage is mundane shots of bullet belts and bobbing heads. The camera even fails to capture a nude model passing out from heat exhaustion, one of the DVD’s most pivotal moments. Gorgoroth bring forth brisk sound, though. The band could dub the video with Twilight of the Idols – the sound is that good. They bolt through a nearly hour-long set with few breaks between songs. Most of the content comes from Antichrist, Under the Sign of Hell, and Twilight of the Idols.

According to vocalist Gaahl, this performance was never meant to reach the public. But when you promise fans an “amazing show with lots of pyro, gallons of blood, live crucifixion, and nude models,” expect a television crew and unhappy officials at the show. Krakow couldn’t handle it. Due to this over-the-top performance, Gorgoroth were accused of violating the Polish penal code that forbids suppressing religious views in a public setting. (Also noteworthy: Krakow was home to Pope John Paul II.)

But this product is far from being a documentary. A black metal band is best captured in its natural habitat. VBS’ five-part series on True Norwegian Black Metal is a more journalistic documentation of Gorgoroth. Gaahl is equally vile without corpse paint and leather. VBS’ journalists voyage in winter to Gaahl’s house in the middle of nowhere to drink his wine, discover his paintings, learn his history, and discuss his wrath for humanity. This documentary doesn’t show the Krakow performance in depth, but the tension between Gaahl and the reporters is far more unsettling.

The End